Reading List 2
In eight weeks, I've read more books than in all 104 weeks of 2013-14 combined. I wish I could understand what's changed - maybe I'm just getting old.
Another thing I've noticed is that all the books I've read lately were written by men. Mostly, or entirely as far as I know, white men. I made a conscious effort to change that this month. If I'm reading five, six, ten hours a week, I owe it to myself to seek out diverse voices.
Oh, and where am I finding an extra 10 hours to read each week with a full-time job and a one-year-old? I'm reading before bed every night. Sometimes it's just 15 minutes, others it may be two hours because I can't sleep. Even if you only have 15 minutes to spare each night, you can finish most books within a couple weeks.
100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write: On Umbrellas and Sword Fights, Parades and Dogs, Fire Alarms, Children, and Theater (Sarah Ruhl) - This book has some truly outstanding writing. Some portions of the book just aren't for me - particularly the parts heavy on theater-specific themes - but it's worth reading those parts for the pieces of wisdom and brilliance throughout.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (Marie Kondo) - This book boils down to one simple idea for me: If an item no longer gives you joy, then it has served its purpose and is time to let it go. That perspective alone was worth the price of admission. Beyond that, it's a lot of tedious repetition, even for a short book. It's also presented for a very specific type of person. Not in an above average income bracket? Have more than one kid? Some of the advice given is simply not practical.
How to Be Black (Baratunde Thurston) - This is good. It should, without question, be required reading for every single college student. I don't think I can give much higher praise than that. Thurston's hilarious writing style from The Onion is on full force tying together a number of important topics.
Station Eleven (Emily St. John Mandel) - If this book were a pie chart, it would have three sections: The book I wanted to read, the book she wanted to write, and the book she wrote to connect the two (which is sadly the weakest link). It missed the right balance of the three for me. Overall, I enjoyed it, but I did skim some pages.
On Immunity: An Inoculation (Eula Biss) - I picked this up on a whim after seeing it in Mark Zuckerberg's A Year of Books, and I'm sure glad I did. Her writing is wonderful. Her use of metaphors critical. She takes on such a hot topic - vaccines - yet doesn't argue. She sets up facts, and supports them. She sets up myths, and knocks them down. All with grace and understanding. Highly recommended for parents, but everyone should read this book.
Man V. Nature: Stories (Diane Cook)